All of us want to make a great first impression when we’re looking for a job. We tailor our resumes, we learn a bit about the company, we prepare ourselves for the potential questions they’ll ask us in the interview, and we have our outfit ready to go. But in the 21st-century job searching process, there’s an additional step that we need to take into consideration. We also need to make sure that our social media profiles are presentable enough.
Though it might come as a surprise to many, it’s not only our resumes that are scrutinized during the job-hunting process. Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and not to mention LinkedIn, are all part of the social media screening. Over 70% of all recruiters use a social media screen before making a hire.
The reason for this social media screening is not about finding reasons to give the job to another candidate. They are an attempt to figure out if the candidate in question will be a good fit for the company. Of all those that perform screenings, 61% do it to look at the candidate’s qualifications, 50% do so to see if the candidate has maintained an online presence, while 37% were looking to see what other people say about that person. Only 24% were looking for reasons not to hire someone.
That said, what can you do to prepare yourself for such an eventuality?
Don’t Close Your Social Profiles
When candidates are faced with the prospect of having their social profiles screened, some believe that wiping their entire online presence clean is the way to go. And while this will make that long-forgotten and embarrassing photo disappear, it can also backfire.
Not to mention the fact that half of all recruiters do these screenings to see if candidates have an online presence, but many will not even request an interview if that person has no presence online. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t clean up your social profiles of any inappropriate content.
Professional Photographs on Professional Social Profiles
It’s also a good idea to display quality headshots on more professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Avoid the webcam at all costs, as well as any other photos that may put off a recruiter from contacting you.
Create a Consistent Online Persona
You should also strive to maintain a fair amount of consistency across your social profiles. Keep your education, qualifications, skills, and job experience accurate and up-to-date on all of the major profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
You should also look for opportunities to highlight your skills and professional achievements wherever possible or appropriate. Don’t be too boastful or take credit for something that you haven’t done. Employers and recruiters have an eye for false or exaggerated claims, and they may be brought up in the interview.
Join Career-Relevant Groups
Recruiters are also interested in seeing just how invested job seekers are about their field. They will regularly look at whether they joined career-related groups and how active they are in the discussions.
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